What’s the most inspirational talk you’ve ever seen?


We asked October’s contributors to recall the most inspirational talk they’ve ever seen, and tell us what they learned from it. Here’s what they said…

October-2015-Contribs-Alice-BentinckAlice Bentinck
Co-founder of Entrepreneur First

Dr Carol Dweck’s Stanford Alumni talk, Developing a Growth Mindset, really influenced the Entrepreneur First culture. Success is often based on ability to learn, and that should be at the core of every start-up, particularly first-time founders who have to learn so much about balancing product-building with commercial skills.


Bentinck took part in our debate on leadership and charisma


October-2015-Contribs-Vicky-BullenVicky Bullen
CEO, Coley Porter Bell

Paul Polman of Unilever is the most inspiring speaker I’ve seen. He has a very personal vision around sustainability, and made it his mission to ensure his company is building brands that deliver success while doing good. The lesson I learnt was on authenticity – the power of living and working by one’s beliefs – and his drive to get his message across.


Bullen was the subject of our My Business Life interview


Inspirational talksIan Jones
CEO, Goonhilly Earth Station

When I started I was so concerned about giving away intellectual property to competitors, I restricted my communications to direct contacts. Then I attended a talk on ‘partnering’ organised by BNSC (predecessor of UK Space Agency) which changed my entire outlook. I realised inspiring others to find win-win solutions is the best way to grow.


Read the remarkable story of Goonhilly Earth Station here


Inspirational talkWilliam Buist
Founder, xTEN Club

I saw Sir Clive Woodward, former World Cup-winning England rugby coach, who said there were two types of players: rocks and sponges. Rocks thought they had nothing to learn; sponges knew they could improve and soaked up advice. They went to the World Cup with sponges, no rocks. If people are unwilling to change, they hold you back.


Buist provides advice to entrepreneur James Villarreal in our Virtual Board feature


Inspirational talkAlex Chisholm
CEO, Competition and Markets Authority

How you say it really matters. I learnt that from David Halpern of No. 10’s Behavioural Insights Team, who talks brilliantly about how small changes to the framing can make massive differences to customer and citizen behaviour. We can all apply his ‘Test’ (Test-Explore-Solutions-Trial) methodology to figure out what works.


How can you avoid breaches of competition law? Read Chisholm’s advice here


Inspirational talkAdam Freeman
Managing director, Bloomberg Media, EMEA

I went to see Matthew Syed [Times journalist and three-time Commonwealth table tennis gold medallist] discuss his book Bounce. Its central premise is that success in life is fundamentally about practice and that’s something that has really stuck with me. We all need to actively practise if we are going to get better at being who we are.


How does Freeman find space to come up with new ideas? Find out here

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Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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